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Question of the Day
LONDON (AP) - Frank Lampard earned the top spot in the weekly Associated Press global soccer poll for the first time after setting Chelsea’s career goals record.
And a familiar name returned to the top of the team rankings, with Barcelona ending Bayern Munich’s six-week stay following its 22nd Spanish league title.
The weekend also featured title celebrations at Paris Saint-Germain, which was fifth following its first French league championship since 1994.
Chelsea retained third as Lampard’s goals against Aston Villa on Saturday helped the club close in on a spot in next season’s Champions League.
The two goals raised the 34-year-old midfielder’s total during 12 years with Chelsea to 203.
“He provided class and gave Chelsea what it needed to be sure of getting Champions League football next season,” said voter Aurelio Capaldi from Italian broadcaster RAI Sport.
Lampard’s contract expires at the end of the season, and it’s not clear whether he will be asked to stay.
“He should have been treated with greater respect by his club as he always performed as a top player,” Capaldi said.
Wigan, one of the Premier League’s smallest clubs, stole the limelight by winning a trophy for the first time in its 81-year history on Saturday. Playing in its first FA Cup final, Wigan beat big-spending Manchester City 1-0 thanks on Ben Watson’s injury-time goal.
Wigan was voted into second place behind Barcelona, while Watson was judged to be the third-best player last week.
Orfeo Suarez, from Spain’s El Mundo, wanted to recognize the “great surprise” pulled off by Roberto Martinez’s Wigan that plays with a “Spanish style.”
“His performance was the difference in the FA Cup final,” said Mike McGrath of the Wardles news agency and The Sun newspaper in England. “He was integral to Wigan pulling off their shock win against Manchester City.”
The end of City’s quest for silverware this season led to the firing of coach Roberto Mancini on Monday, the first anniversary of the team’s Premier League title triumph.
“You can’t go losing to teams facing relegation and expect to remain in good graces,” said Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
In France, PSG secured the league title with a 1-0 victory over Lyon, and scorer Jeremy Menez was voted into sixth place in the players’ poll.
Manchester United, which regained the Premier League title last month, was in the fourth spot on the weekend it collected the trophy. The 2-1 victory over Swansea marked Alex Ferguson’s last game as manaher at Old Trafford after nearly 27 years in charge at United.
Bayern’s coach also is on the way out after the winning the title, and the German champions were even with United at 55 points in the poll.
“Though it was far from routine, Bayern Munich’s 3-0 win against Augsburg in their final home game of the season was a fitting sendoff for head coach Jupp Heynckes and a perfect way to usher in the celebrations of their 22nd Bundesliga title,” said James Thorogood of the Bundesliga.com website.
“Franck Ribery (ninth in the player poll) has played an integral part in Bayern’s record-breaking, title-winning season and was once again instrumental in their 3-0 win over Augsburg, leaving defenders for dead and providing two assists.”
The AP panel recognized some of the weekend’s hat-trick scorers.
Daniel Sturridge had all of Liverpool’s goals in a 3-1 victory over Fulham and was voted into second place behind Lampard. Branimir Hrgota squeezed into 10th place after giving Borussia Moenchengladbach a 4-2 win at Mainz with a hat trick.
There was a rare spot for a lower-league player. A crucial penalty kick save by Watford goalkeeper Manuel Almunia _ tied for 10th in the rankings _ against Leicester helped to secure his team a spot in the playoff final for promotion to the Premier League.
AP Global Soccer Rankings for the week ending May 13.
Based on 12 voters: 10 points for first, nine for second, etc. Previous rankings in parentheses.
1. Barcelona (6), 91 points.
2. Wigan, 59.
3. Chelsea (3), 56.
4. Bayern Munich (1), 55.
(tie) Manchester United, 55.
5. Paris Saint-Germain, 52.
6. FC Porto, 43.
7. Napoli (8), 38.
8. Valencia, 22.
9, Tottenham (10), 19.
10. Real Madrid (8), 16.
1. Frank Lampard, 93 points.
2. Daniel Sturridge, 54.
3. Ben Watson, 37
4. Antonio Di Natale, 36
5. Callum McManaman, 35
6. Jeremy Menez, 33
7. Edinson Cavani (3), 31
(tie) Marco Reus, 31
8. Roberto Soldado, 23
9. Kelvin, 21
(tie) Franck Ribery, 21
10. Manuel Almunia, 19
(tie) Branimir Hrgota, 19
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